What’s at the core of a killer workout? Duh — the best core exercises for women!
(More specifically, the 8 BEST core exercises!)
Did you know that core exercises for women are about more than just toning your abs?
Well, it’s true.
According to Harvard Health, there are a lot of benefits to building core strength. Core strength can help you build strength throughout the rest of your body, tone your torso, and achieve your overall health and fitness goals. It also enhances your balance and stability. The more core strength you have, the better you’ll be able to complete seemingly simple daily activities like bending down to tie your shoes! Core strength can also reduce the risk of falls and injury and prevent chronic pain, especially in the back.
Whether you’re just getting started with beginner yoga or looking to build on the online yoga classes you’re already doing, we’re here to share the best core exercises for women to start incorporating into your daily workouts.
And guess what? You don’t have to jump straight into intense cardio routines to get the core workout you’re looking for (unless you want to, of course). There are a wide range of core exercises for women out there to choose from!
You should totally consider adding power yoga poses to your current exercise routine. There are plenty of yoga flows that are totally focused on your core, like this one with Jane or this one with Sarah!
Here are a few of the best core exercises for women, according to the amazing bulldog leader team! Below, they’re walking you through some of the moves you’ll find in our online yoga classes so you can pull out your mat and build core strength wherever you are.
1) Plank Variations
It’s no secret that planks are among the best core exercises for women. And you even have some options to help you build core strength in different ways… with a power yoga spin!
Forearm plank: Rest on your forearms instead of on your hands with straight arms. This is a good variation for yoga beginners!
Side plank: While keeping your spine straight (as you would for a standard plank), lift one hand up and turn your body so that you are facing the side instead of the floor. Stack your top foot on your bottom foot and stretch your free arm up toward the ceiling. Be sure to focus on pulling your navel toward your spine, just as you would in a standard plank.
Plank leg raise: Begin in a standard plank (arms straight). Slowly lift one leg, keeping your hips parallel to the ground. Lower the leg back to the floor, then lift the other leg slowly. Start with about ten reps for each leg.
And just like that, you can turn the basic plank into three different core exercises for women!
2) Bicycle Crunch
- Begin by lying on your back with your knees at a 90-degree angle and your heels in front of you. Lace your fingers behind your head and lift your head slightly so you can see your legs and feet. Be sure not to bring your chin too close to your chest. Your elbows should be out to your sides.
- On an exhale, extend your left leg straight and twist your torso so that your left elbow reaches your right knee. Bring your left leg back up and simultaneously extend your right leg. As you do this, twist the other way so your right elbow reaches your left knee to complete one rep.
- Complete step 2 approximately 20 times for one set.
There are two types of boat poses in power yoga: low and high. Both are great core exercises for women!
- High Boat Pose: Start in a seated position with your legs straight out in front of you. Hold your hands toward your legs. Lean back (keeping your back straight) and lift your feet, keeping your legs straight until your body is in a V-shaped position with your arms parallel to the floor. Hold this position as you would a plank.
- Low Boat Pose: Begin in a corpse pose, lying flat on your back with your arms and legs straight. Keeping your back and legs straight, lift your torso and legs until your feet are about six inches off the floor. Keep your arms straight toward your feet and parallel to the ground. Hold this position as you would a plank.
Locust pose is similar to the low boat pose, but you start on your stomach. (Like boat pose, it deserves its spot on this list of amazing core exercises for women.)
While laying flat on your stomach with your arms and legs straight, lift your torso, arms, and legs off the ground. You may find it easier to have your feet shoulder-width apart during this pose.
5) Half Moon
Half moon is a great core exercise for women and a fun balancing pose! The only thing better than building core strength while you work out is improving your balance and stability at the same time.
- Begin in mountain pose, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides.
- Turn to the left and step so your feet are wide, extending your arms out to the sides at shoulder-height. Turn your right foot 90 degrees and your left foot slightly inward. Your front heel should align with the arch of your back foot.
- Reach your right hand in the same direction as your right foot. Fold sideways at the hip, resting your hand on your knee, shin, or ankle for support. You may also rest your hand on the floor. Your shoulders should be stacked.
- Rest your left hand on your left hip. Bend your right knee and step your left foot forward 6-12 inches. Bring your right fingertips to the floor in front of your right foot.
- Lift your left leg as you straighten your right knee, bringing your left leg parallel to the floor. If you can, bring your leg up so that your foot is higher than your hip.
- When you’re ready, extend your left arm and twist your torso so your left fingertips are pointed toward the sky.
- To release the pose, lower your left leg, then lift your torso and lower your arms. Turn to the left, reverse the position of your feet, and repeat the steps on the other side.
6) Warrior III
- From Warrior I, press your weight into your right foot.
- Lift your left leg and lower your torso until your body is parallel to the ground. Your arms should also be parallel to the ground.
- Hold the pose for about 30 seconds, then slowly return to Warrior I before repeating the process by lifting your right leg.
7) Floating Triangle
- From Warrior II, straighten your bent leg until both legs are straight.
- Lean your torso over your front leg, keeping your spine and arms straight.
- Lower your arm to rest on your front shin or ankle, extending your other arm toward the sky.
- Hold this pose for approximately 30 seconds, then return to an upright position. Shift the position of your feet to do the floating triangle on the other side.
8) Chair Pose (It’s a Booty Burner, Too!)
Like lots of power yoga poses, this one will make you feel the burn in your tush!
- Stand in Mountain Pose. Place your hands on your hips. On an exhale, bend your knees as if you are moving to sit in a chair. Bend your knees as much as you can while maintaining your stability.
- Raise your arms over your head. Stay in this position for approximately 30 seconds. The longer you hold it, the more core strength you’ll develop.
Add these core exercises to your yoga workout routine to take your practice up a notch!
Whether you’re new to core exercises or ready to take your core workout to the next level, these exercises are great for an at-home cardio yoga fitness routine.
Just ten minutes a day can make a huge difference! By focusing on developing core strength, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your health and fitness goals and feeling your best ever.
You will find all these moves and more in the
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